Will Paris’ bedbugs make their way to Australia?

There’s been quite the buzz surrounding the city of lights lately. And it’s not just about the haute couture on show at the Spring/Summer 2024 shows in Paris, but about the scourge of bed bugs throughout the city.

Paris, a city with a population nearing 2.1 million, has seen an alarming increase in bed bugs. There is also a rising concern that other countries, including Australia, may be on the verge of a similar plague.

Bed bugs move around mainly in the dark. While difficult to treat, Australia’s preventive methods have become a beacon of light for the rest of the world, which should give us at least some peace of mind.

These tough little bugs adversaries are, thankfully, less common here than in some countries, largely thanks to our government’s efforts at comprehensive bed bug management.

Bed bug expert Stephen Doggett (yes, there is such a thing), says that a meticulously structured code of practice has played a part in keeping these nuisances at bay. That said, vigilance remains key, particularly as our nation is accepting more and more international visitors.

Populations of bed bugs are prone to fluctuation, particularly during peak holiday seasons, warns Emma Mendelsohn of Melbourne’s Noah’s Ark Pest Control. With international tourism set to rise in summer, diligence in maintaining awareness and observation will be essential, she says.

Bed bugs hitchhike around the world and, as Australian tourists return, it’s almost inevitable that we will see an uptick in the bed bug count at home.

Prevention is better than cure, and detection is the most significant first step in dealing with presence of these creatures. They lurk – largely unseen – under the blankets and along mattress seams. Clothing, suitcases and everyday personal items are safe havens.

Once detected, bed bug infestations can be stubbornly difficult – and often, costly – to remove. Mr Doggett says by engaging professional help, especially service providers who stick to a strict code of conduct under the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association, you stand a fair chance in the battle against these tiny pests.

Unrelenting prevention measures shouldn’t stop at your own backyard. Mr Doggett recommends vigilance when travelling. He suggests sealing your clothing in zip-lock bags to prevent cross-contamination, or unpacking suitcases outdoors rather than indoors, once you’re back home.

The bottom line is, that while we may rest easier knowing our tried and tested methods of prevention have been effective, travellers should remain aware of bed bug threats overseas and practice caution upon return.

Have you ever had to deal with bed bugs? Where were you at the time? Did you bring them home? How did you get rid of them?

Also read: Here’s how to spot bed bugs

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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